Davao City needs '2 years' to vaccinate residents

Subscribe Now January 07, 2021 at 08:59am

WITH Davao City's entire population nearing two million, a high-ranking health official said it will take around two years to vaccinate its whole population.

Davao City Covid-19 focal person Dr. Ashley Lopez said in a virtual presser on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, there is a need for the city government to prepare for the rolling out of vaccines once the national government approves a certain brand of the vaccine.

This is in response to the proposed Covid-19 Immunization Program of Davao City ordinance, passed under first reading on Tuesday, January 5, by Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte.

The proposed ordinance, which will undergo a series of committee hearings in the coming weeks, will still have to await the guidelines from the Department of Health (DOH) and the Covid-19 National Task Force, Lopez said.

He said as early as now, the City must prepare strategies on how the vaccination program will be implemented.

"When the time comes that the vaccine will be available, dili na ta magkapa-kapa. Ready na tang tanan (we will not be having last-minute preparations. We will be ready in its implementation), including the workforce, and the process in the implementation of the immunization process," the health official said.

Considering the city is "highly urbanized" with a huge population, it is unlikely that it will be implemented in weeks or months.

"It will take about one to two years to cover the immunization in the whole Davao City, that's why a proper plan should be done at this time and level," Lopez said.

He added that preparations must be made since the city will most likely be prioritized in availing of the vaccines.

Villafuerte, meanwhile, said that while everyone will be given the vaccine, the vaccination will be implemented in phases.

"Vaccines will be given in phases aron dili tanan magdungan adto sa mga (so that there won’t be an influx in the) health centers," she said.

Specific sectors to be prioritized have yet to be determined, but these would include frontliners. It is still not clear, however, if the “frontliners” would be healthcare workers or those non-healthcare workers.

As of now, Villafuerte said the city cannot yet determine the budget to be allocated in the procurement of the vaccines despite the early pronouncement of Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio that the city has enough fund to personally procure the authorized vaccines once these will be certified by the national government.

Villafuerte, who is the committee chairperson on health, said the ordinance will specifically detail the implementation of the vaccination, the number of vaccines to be procured, and how and where to store them.

"We have to be ready for facilities because some vaccines have to be stored in very cold facilities. Who will be doing it? Is it the city government or the drug company?" Villafuerte said.

The need for healthcare workers who will be conducting the vaccination must also be addressed in the ordinance.

With various misinformation circulating online on the alleged hazardous effect of the vaccine, Villafuerte said the city will be conducting an information drive to make the public aware of the effect of the vaccine and its expected adverse effect.

A separate committee will also be formed to cater to reports on those who will be experiencing side effects once injected with the Covid-19 vaccine.

She said the crafting of the ordinance will be transparent and that all concerned stakeholders will be invited during the committee hearing.

Source: sunstar.com.ph

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